Useful information for current students

Research can at times seem like a very lonely and difficult road. If you are having problems with any aspect of your research please get in touch with either the coordinator of the relevant coursework or your thesis supervisor earlier rather than later. Problems tend to grow not go away and supervisors have lots of experience with these issues. If you are having problems with your supervisor, or you have more general questions about the nature of your research please get in touch with the PG research coordinator.

The University has some facilities for PG research students. There are three rooms available, each of which have desks, computers, printers and scanners. One of these rooms, PGARC (Quadrangle) is for candidates in the last 12-18 months of candidature, and it has dedicated desks (ie each desk is given to a particular student). The other two rooms (PGARC1 and 2) are in the John Woolley building and the Fisher Stack. Any research student is eligible to apply for access to these two rooms, which do not have dedicated desks (ie you take whichever desk is free on the day). You can now apply online to get access to these facilities on the following webpage:

Students simply login using their MyUni account details, are asked to read and agree to the terms and conditions, then click "submit". Applications are processed within a week. Whether approved or not approved (based on eligibility criteria), applicants receive emails sent to their University of Sydney email accounts (currently on Wednesdays and Fridays) advising them accordingly.

Research candidates who are on a period of suspension are not eligible for access. Candidates who discontinue or submit their theses for examination will have their access automatically terminated the day after the change in their enrolment is processed.

Students completing their research degrees at Sydney who are intending to find work as a professional philosopher should consult Mark Colyvan () who is our placement officer. He can offer advice about where to look for jobs and how to get them. It is recommended that you get in touch with him at least a year before you complete your PhD since the process of getting ready to go on the job market takes a significant amount of time.

Annual progress reviews and reports
All research students, their supervisor and the PG coordinator each year fill in a PG progress report. The purpose of this report is so that the faculty can be sure that adequate progress is being made. This is where supervisors and candidates can put on record any difficulties that may or may not have been avoidable, including periods of personal illness or misadventure.

Each candidate fills in the first portion of the form, which is then forwarded to the supervisor who comments on the candidate?s progress, then forwarding the form on the PG coordinator who makes a recommendation to the faculty on the progress of the candidate. It is then forwarded back to the candidate to sign, to acknowledge that the comments have been seen. You do not have to agree with the comments made, and space is provided for you to comment on the comments should you wish to do so.

The report is then forwarded to the faculty or college office for final endorsement, where the candidature can be continued, conditions imposed upon continued candidature for a specified time (such as a continuation of a probationary period, revision of progress after a further semester, completion of coursework or change of supervisory arrangements), or in some cases, terminated.

Departmental review
In addition to filling in the progress report, the department also holds reviews, and indeed, is required to do so by the faculty. The philosophy department holds panel reviews for all candidates at the end of their second semester of enrollment. This process involves each candidate submitting two pieces of work: one an excerpt from the thesis of between 5000 and 8000 words, and the other an overview of the thesis which provides a projection of what will be contained in each chapter of the thesis. The panel that assesses this material usually compromises the associate supervisor (but not the supervisor) as well as two other experts in the field in which the candidate is working.

The purpose of the review panel is to provide feedback to candidates early in their candidacy. The review assesses the research project, including the resources being made available, the candidate's progress and the supervisory arrangements. Panels also often given comments on the content of the thesis extract, as well as on the thesis overview. The purpose is to both help candidates early on, to gain direction in the writing of their thesis, to locate any difficulties early and provide the resources for overcoming said difficulties, and to get feedback from expert staff members that the candidate may not yet have had the opportunity to talk to in detail. The panel also includes an interview with the candidate in which the panelists discuss their views about the thesis, and in which the candidate has the opportunity to discuss in confidence his or her progress in the absence of the supervisor.

An outcome will be considered by the head of department, if not directly involved. Where difficulties have been identified, the report will include an agreed course of action that may include discontinuation. This review usually coincides with the Annual Progress review conducted at the end of each calendar year, except where students began their candidacy mid-year.

Mailing lists
Students in the market for jobs and students wanting to keep abreast of conferences and philosophy news should sign up to the two big mailing lists in Australia: aphil and sydphil. Sydphil is run through the University of Sydney.
Subscribe to Sydphil
All philosophy seminars at the University of Sydney are posted to sydphil.

Aphil is the Australasian Association of Philosophy and you can subscribe to its mailing list.
Subscribe to Aphil

Although all Sydney philosophy seminars are posted to sydphil, below is a brief list of some of the regular seminars to give you a sense of what is available. The list is not exhaustive, so check around and keep an eye on sydphil. There are also quite a few reading groups in a wide range of areas. These reading groups meet regularly, and discuss particular readings in different areas of philosophy. There are often different reading groups in different semesters, but these are always advertised on Sydphil ? so again, keep an eye out.

  1. Departmental seminar series, Wednesday 3.30-5.30 in the refectory, main quad. Pre-talks occur at 2.00 in the philosophy common room. These pre-talks involve the speaker for that week providing PG students with background to the material that will be covered in the paper, and it provides PG students the opportunity to ask questions, and get acquainted with international speakers. It is an excellent way both to make international contacts and to learn vital material. PLEASE NOTE: All PG students are expected to attend both the pre talk and the departmental seminar.
  2. Current Projects Seminar series: Monday 1.00-2.30 in the philosophy common room. Papers on a broad range of issues from ethics to metaphysics.
  3. Post graduate work in progress seminar. Monday 3.30-5.00 philosophy common room. This is an opportunity for PGs to present papers and get feedback from colleagues, as well as to offer feedback to colleagues. PG students are expected to attend and offer their expertise to their colleagues.
  4. Foundations of physics seminar, Wednesday morning, philosophy common room
  5. SHAPE seminar Friday 10.30-12.00 philosophy common room. This seminar series focuses on political and social philosophy.

Australasian Association of Philosophy
Other useful website include the AAP homepage, which will give you information about the yearly AAP, as well as having a link to a page of jobs for philosophers.
Australasian Association of Philosophy

Another useful link for a whole host of online papers that sometimes cannot be retrieved via other methods, plus news and forums is PhilPapers at:
the Philpapers website

Travel funding
Finally, below is some funding information for students wanting to travel overseas. The funding opportunities include opportunities for travel to conferences, as well as funding to complete research overseas.

The postgraduate research support scheme (PRSS) is a scheme to support postgraduate research including travel.
PRSS information (PDF)

There is also a whole range of University of Sydney Travelling scholarships, some of which are discipline specific and will not be accessible by philosophy students. However, some are available to students in the department.
University of Sydney travel scholarships (PDF)

Grants in aid
Other options are to look at some of the specific grants in aid.
University of Sydney Grants in Aid

The ones that that are open to philosophy students are as follows: